Latin America Security by the Numbers

Central America
South America

This post was drafted by CIP interns Matt LaLime and Sebastian Belloni

  • Each day between three and six narco-flights arrive in Bolivia from Peru’s VRAE region, according to a recent report from Peruvian investigative magazine IDL-Reporteros. That’s more than 20 per week or 80 per month. A kilo of coca paste in the VRAE costs about $900. In Bolivia that same kilo goes for $1500. So while a flight taking off in Peru with 300 kilos of cocaine is worth $270,000, when lands in Bolivia it is worth $450,000.

    The cost of transporting cocaine from Peru to Bolivia:

    • $10,000 - $15,000 for renting the clandestine airstrip
    • An experienced pilot costs $25,000 while a new pilot receives $10,000
    • Renting a plane costs around $70,000

    So, at most, that would mean a cost of around $110,000 and a profit of about $340,000.

  • Honduras purchased three radar systems from Israel at a cost of $30 million, which have been delivered in recent weeks. With the passage of a new law that allows for the shoot down of drug plans, the new systems will help authorities track and possibly attack suspect aircraft. In response to the law, Washington has halted radar intelligence sharing, however a U.S. embassy spokesperson said this decision was unlikely to affect cocaine flows, as “80 to 90 percent of illegal drugs that enter Honduras (do so) via maritime routes,” and not by air.
  • About two thirds of all public security policies in Latin America are aimed primarily at seven countries in the region, according to a new data visualization called Mapping Citizen Security created by Brazil’s Igarapé Insitute, which collected data from over 1,300 Latin American security policies implemented since 1990.
  • Colombia’s Valle del Cauca department has become the most violent state in the country, with over 250 homicides occurring since 2013. The department’s capital, Cali, has become one of the most dangerous cities in the world, with a murder rate of 85 per 100,000 residents. Of the 848 crimes that have occurred throughout the country, 29.5 percent have been in this region.
  • In the past five years, Colombian security forces have trained, with some degree of U.S. support, almost 22,000 security forces from 47 countries. According to a new WOLA report, 87 percent of the training was carried out by the National Police and focused mainly on aerial, maritime, and fluvial interdiction, handling of explosives, intelligence operations, and the U.S.-designed JUNGLA elite counternarcotics police program. Mexico accounted for nearly half of the total number of trainees.
  • On Saturday Mexican officials said that 370 migrant children had been caught in one week in 14 states, after apparently being abandoned by traffickers paid to take them to the United States. The youngest child to be rescued was 9 years old. According to the children, the traffickers abandoned them after being paid between $3,000 and $5,000.
  • Over 1,400 Brazilian Marines and police officers have been deployed to Rio de Janeiro's Mare favela complex ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, as part of the city’s “pacification” program that began in 2008. Around 174 communities have been "pacified" so far.
  • Brazil continues to expand the size and strength of its military. The South American country recently added 23, BAE Systems designed, Amphibious Armored Vehicles (AAV-7A) to its existing arsenal of 26 AAV’s of a similar model for about $118 million. reported that the country is planning to purchase 30 additional amphibious military vehicles in the near future. On March 27 the Brazilian Navy also received the first 6 of its 13 CFN Astros 2020 mobile SAMs, made by Brazilian weapons company Avibras Batallón de Artillería del Cuerpo.